The Nature of our Present Union

Present union is also spiritual. This is so not in an immaterial, idealistic sense but because of the activity and indwelling of the Holy Spirit. This gives to present union with Christ its distinctiveness. It also circumscribes the mystery involved and protects against confusing it with other kinds of union. As spiritual, that is, effected by the Holy Spirit, it is neither ontological (like that between the persons of the Trinity), nor hypostatic (like that between Christ’s divine and human natures), nor psychosomatic (between body and soul in human personality), nor somatic (between husband and wife); nor is it merely intellectual and moral, a unity in understanding, affections and purpose. Spiritual union stems from the relationship between Christ and the Holy Spirit given with his glorification and lying in back of that union.

 

Richard B. Gaffin, By Faith, Not by Sight: Paul and the Order of Salvation (Paternoster, 2006), 38–39.

The Will and the Natures of Man

But just because we have the natural ability to choose, that does not mean we have, as Adam and Eve did, the ability to choose either good or evil. Since the fall into sin, since we are dead in our sins apart from Christ, we have lost the ability to choose for Christ. But we still choose, because sin did not destroy the image of God that we are as God’s human creatures. The will always chooses, but it chooses according to the nature of the person choosing. In the garden, Adam’s will could choose to obey or disobey. After the fall, we still choose, but we always choose what we want, and we always want sin. Our depravity does not mean that we do not choose; it means that, in our sin, we always choose sin. When we’re converted to Christ, there is a change of our nature, so that we can choose either to obey or disobey, just as Adam could. In the new heaven and new earth, since we—our nature—will be glorified, we will still choose, but we will always and only choose the good. In none of these cases do we lose our wills; the will remains in its natural state.

 

K. Scott Oliphint, The Majesty of Mystery: Celebrating the Glory of an Incomprehensible God (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016), 167–168.

Rationalism and Worship

Rationalism never leads to proper praise and worship. It can only be smugly satisfied with its own intellectual accomplishments

 

K. Scott Oliphint, The Majesty of Mystery: Celebrating the Glory of an Incomprehensible God (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016), 166.

Covenantal Characteristics

When there was no creation, there was no anger or wrath of God; without creation, and the entrance of sin, there would be no need for God to be gracious. Because these characteristics present themselves in light of God’s voluntary condescension, we can call them “covenantal.”

 

K. Scott Oliphint, The Majesty of Mystery: Celebrating the Glory of an Incomprehensible God (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016), 102.

Loving God with All Your Mind

But what does it mean to love God with our minds? At minimum, this means that we are to know God—that is, we are to read and understand what Scripture says about God, and to submit intellectually (and otherwise) to that teaching. We are to think God’s thoughts after Him. Those thoughts are found in God’s revelation. When we read Scripture, when we study it, we are to see it as the only true description of what reality is like. We are to reorient our thinking, so that the things around us, and within us, take on the truth that God has spoken. This requires intellectual effort.

 

K. Scott Oliphint, The Majesty of Mystery: Celebrating the Glory of an Incomprehensible God (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016), 12.

Mystery is infused with Truth

...mystery, if we understand it biblically, is infused through and through with the truth that is found in the Word of God. Mystery is the lifeblood of the truth that we have in God’s revelation; it flows through every truth that God gives us.

 

K. Scott Oliphint, The Majesty of Mystery: Celebrating the Glory of an Incomprehensible God (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016), 10.

Mystery Grounded in Scripture

Here is the paradox: A true, biblical view of mystery has its roots not in a lack of understanding, but in the teaching of Scripture. As a matter of fact, it is just the teaching of Scripture that gives us the biblical truth of that which we hold to be mysterious.

 

K. Scott Oliphint, The Majesty of Mystery: Celebrating the Glory of an Incomprehensible God (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016), 10.

The Majestic Mystery of God

Nothing should motivate true Christian worship more than the majestic mystery of God. Things that we understand, that we can wrap our minds around, are rarely objects of our worship. We may seek to control them. We may try to manipulate them. We may want to change them. But we will not worship them, not really. If what we are seeking is true worship, it is the riches of the mystery of God and His ways in the world that will produce and motivate worship in us and to Him.

 

K. Scott Oliphint, The Majesty of Mystery: Celebrating the Glory of an Incomprehensible God (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016), 4–5.